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Public Health

Health and human service professionals and service providers are invited to attend the North Dakota Symposium on Adults, Aging and Disabilities, Oct. 26-27, at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck.   

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford will welcome attendees to this training and networking event, which will focus on information participants can use to better connect adults with physical disabilities to in-home and community-based services supporting well-being and independent living.   

The agenda includes these featured speakers and their presentation topics. 

  • Joseph E. Gaugler, Ph.D., professor and Robert L. Kane Endowed Chair in Long-Term Care and Aging, at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, will discuss types of dementia; how dementia affects individuals, their families and caregivers; and home and community-based strategies used to support individuals and their caregivers. 

  • Mike Chaussee and Reva Kautz of ND Assistive will share information about common assistive devices that help individuals live more independently at home. They will also discuss resources to help North Dakotans access and try assistive technology to determine which devices best meet their unique needs and support their independence. 

  • Nancy Maier, director of North Dakota Health and Human Services agency’s Adult and Aging Services team, will share information about the strategies North Dakota is using to create a more effective, efficient, and person-centered in-home and community-based service system. These strategies are making it possible for more adults with physical disabilities to choose to receive long-term services and supports at home, and in the community.  

  • Alanna Zeller, assistant regional director of HHS’ Southeast Human Service Center in Fargo, will discuss co-occurring addiction and behavioral health disorders in older adults and adults with physical disability. Participants will learn how to effectively work with individuals with co-occurring disorders and how to connect them to needed services and support.  

In addition, the symposium includes experts speaking on a variety of other topics including the supportive decision-making process; the importance of a health care directive, durable power of attorney and other legal considerations; understanding health equity; the hierarchy of ethical decision making; and self-care and work-life balance. Participants can also learn about the role of public health units in supporting individuals through long-term services and supports in their homes and communities. Attendees will also learn the signs of human trafficking and exploitation of adults.  

The conference offers the opportunity for professionals to receive 14 continuing education units, which include two CEUs for ethics.  

Registration is $100 for the two-day symposium. Individuals should mail their registration payment in advance to the Minot Commission on Aging, 21 First Ave. S.E., Minot, N.D., 58701. Make checks payable to the Minot Commission on Aging, Inc. For registration questions, contact Val Millen at Minot Commission on Aging at (701) 852-0561 or valmcoa@srt.com.  

All conference activities are at the Radisson Hotel, 605 E. Broadway Ave., in Bismarck. For general questions about the conference, contact North Dakota’s Aging & Disability Resource Link toll-free at (855) 462-5465, 711 TTY, or email carechoice@nd.gov.  

Symposium co-sponsors include the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services - Adult and Aging Services Section, Minot Commission on Aging, Inc.; Williston Council for the Aging, Inc.; Burleigh County Senior Adults Program; Valley Senior Services – Helping Seniors Maintain Independence; and the North Dakota Lifespan Respite Grant, which supports unpaid caregivers.  

Social workers, case managers, hospital discharge planners, health care professionals, public health professionals, advocates, providers of services to older adults and adults with physical disabilities, and other interested individuals are encouraged to attend this professional development opportunity.

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